As I continue on my journey for balance, I’m trying to be more aware of my impact on the environment. This used to never cross my mind and now it’s always in my thought process with nearly everything I do. With this change, I’m doing my best to find sustainable swaps that fit my lifestyle and help the planet.
I’ve already made a number of the swaps that I’ve shared include quitting fast fashion and switching to bamboo toothbrushes. Others things include always carrying a water bottle, something I’ve done for years.
Not only are these swaps great for the planet, but many are great for your wallet! Investing in some of these products will save you money in the long run as you will no longer need to purchase items you throw away. I also find that I will simply refuse some things so I’m not buying something that will go directly into the trash. For example, if I’m out and about and want a coffee but forgot my to-go mug, I won’t get that coffee. It’s just not worth it in my opinion.
simple sustainable swaps
reusable cotton rounds & makeup remover towels
I’ve already shared blog posts with my reusable cotton rounds and mentioned makeup remover towels in my recent favorites, but I have to mention both again. I have these cotton rounds and towels both from Amazon, which makes them easily accessible.
Honestly, I never thought I would ditch the disposable makeup remover towelettes because I wear waterproof mascara everyday, but I promise that these really work! I still use makeup remover (I’ve been using the NYX Stripped Off Micellar Water) which comes in a plastic bottle, but I feel so much better that I’m not throwing towels in the trash every day. It’s such an easy swap!
If you don’t want to buy reusable cotton rounds or towels, you can make your own rounds with an old t-shirt or designate specific wash cloths for removing makeup. If you do this, I would recommend using an old microfiber cotton cloth as they rinse and dry better than regular cotton. My next swap will be to switch over from cotton balls to an old rag to remove my nail polish. More to come!
In my experience, most work spaces do not offer traditional or reusable flatware. Instead they offer single use plastic utensils. At one of my previous jobs, they even stopped buying flatware because it needed to be replaced so often (because the forks and spoons would accidentally end up going home in people’s lunch boxes). Some people also don’t like the idea of sharing a fork with their co-worker (hello cold and flu season).
So in my opinion, this where some self accountability comes into play in bringing your own utensils to work with you. At my desk, I keep a set of utensils in a mason jar and a bowl in my desk that I grab for my meals (including lunches that are catered in) and wash them in the kitchens – soap and towels are provided for us.
I’ve also added this To Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set to my purse that has come in handy in a pinch at work, but truly shines when traveling. I carried this set with us on our recent honeymoon, which came in handy at the Philadelphia airport where they only offered plastic utensil, including at sit-down restaurant.
I think it’s important to note that you do not need to go out and buy a specific travel utensil set. You can very easily make your own with extra flatware and chopsticks you have in your kitchen, and wrap them in a bandanna or toss them in a travel bag in your backpack or purse.
A very easy swap is switching from liquid soap or body wash to bar soap. Bar soaps can easily be found in paper packaging (or sometimes no packaging at all) at your local health food store or even Target. Since making the swap, I also feel like bar soap cleans better than body wash.
As for hand soap around the house, I haven’t made the switch to bar soap because I do think there’s a bit of a sanitary factor there. Not only for us living in the house, but I know personally it’s kind of weird to share bar soap with others.
bagless waste baskets
Since I’m no longer using plastic bags for groceries, I pretty much had to stop using bags in waste baskets around the house. There are some waste baskets that I probably wouldn’t want to make the swap from, such as the kitchen and bathroom, but in our other rooms there’s just no need for a bag. When the basket or bin gets full, I simply empty it into the kitchen garbage (which is a large bin) or bring it outside to the trash.
I’ve even picked up some cute wicker bins from my local thrift store to use as waste baskets. They add a nice decor piece to the room and contain the contents better than a plastic bin. Seriously, if you’re looking for wicker anything, go down to your favorite thrift store. I promise you’ll find an aisle full of options.
reusable grocery bags
As mentioned above, I no longer use plastic shopping bags (you shouldn’t either) so I rarely leave the house without reusable shopping bags. This includes trips to the grocery store, Ulta, Target, the thrift store and anywhere else I shop.
If you have reusable grocery bags in your house, throw them into your car so you always have them on hand. It’s so simple! Some stores even offer discounts if you bring your own bags. And if you shop at Aldi, bringing your own bags are a must otherwise they charge per bag.
There was a time in my life when I was a vegetarian, however that is no more. It simply does not fit my lifestyle at the moment therefore I wouldn’t be successful at it if I were to switch. That being said, I am aware that the meat industry is one of the most polluting (right before the fashion industry). So to help with that impact, I made the switch that makes sense for my lifestyle which is participating in Meatless Monday, specifically for dinner.
I’ve been following this for several months now and I feel very good about this decision! Some of my favorite Monday meals include breakfast tacos or a breakfast wrap, pumpkin pancakes or waffles, or veggie sausage stir fry – though I try to avoid the processed meat-free items. I also find myself eating a lot of meatless meals on the weekends since I don’t prep these meals in advance. Instead I usually have egg white based meals, protein bars, and Greek yogurt.
What swaps have you made to be more sustainable? Anything we as individuals can do helps, even if it’s a small change.
Thanks for reading!